The Ghana Railways Workers Union (GRWU) has lauded the Government for creating the Ministry of Railways Development to fast-track the development and operations of the sector.
Mr. Godwill Ntamah, the General Secretary of the GRWU, who told the Ghana News Agency, in an interview, said although President Kufuor’s Administration instituted the Ministry of Ports, Harbours and Railways, because there were a number of agencies under that Ministry, the railway sector did not receive much attention.
He, therefore, expressed optimism that this Ministry created solely for the railway sector would receive more attention and achieve its set objectives.
The General Secretary lauded the previous Government for reconstructing the Kojokrom/Sekondi/Takoradi rail tracks, saying it would enhance the carriage of passengers within the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis.
He, therefore, appealed to the new administration to urgently tackle the Kojokrom-Awaso-Nsuta rail lines to enhance the haulage of bauxite, cocoa, manganese and other heavy goods to the Takoradi Port, in order to improve its revenue base.
“I am hopeful that new Government would tackle the Western rail lines first before looking at other corridors such as the Eastern and the proposed rail lines to the North because the western corridor is very crucial to sustaining the railway sector,” he stated.
He said the current workforce of 1,500 could work to pay themselves should the dysfunctional tracks be urgently repaired.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has nominated Joe Nana Ghartey, the Member of Parliament for Essikadu-Ketan, in the Western Region, as the Minister to head the sector upon parliamentary approval.
The Ministry would work under auspices of the Office of the President. Background of railway transport in Ghana
The Ghana Railway Company Limited, a public-sector body, operates the railways of Ghana.
It has the responsibility for the efficient management of the national rail system to enhance the smooth movement of goods and passengers
Rail transport operations began in 1898 under the Gold Coast Civil Service with its headquarters in Sekondi.
The headquarters was transferred to Takoradi after the building of the Takoradi Harbour, and railways and ports were jointly administered as the Ghana Railway and Ports Authority.
In 1976, Supreme Military Council Decree 95 separated the railway from ports, making it the Ghana Railway Corporation. The company enjoyed the status of a public corporation until 19th March, 2001, when it became a limited liability company.
The original 304-kilometre Eastern Railway was built in 1923 by the British for the purpose of hauling minerals and cocoa.
According to information gathered from the website of the Ministry of Transport, in 2010, a contract was signed to construct a railway from Paga (on the border with Burkina Faso) to Kumasi; plus a branch from Tamale to Yendi.
“The railway network in Ghana resembles a large capital ‘A’ with three components – a ‘Western Division’ (the left leg of the ‘A’) from Sekondi/Takoradi to Kumasi (280 km), an “Eastern Division” (the right leg of the ‘A’) from Accra to Kumasi, and a Central Division’ (the horizontal bar of the ‘A’) from Huni Valley to Kotoku.”
Very little of the railway network remains in operation.
For instance, from Accra to Tema; Accra to Kotoku; Awaso to Dunkwa; and from Dunkwa to the Southern part of Takoradi are the only parts in operation.